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High School Nation brings day of music, art

Musician%2C+Drake+Bell+jams+out+in+front+of+Wakefield+students+as+a+part+of+High+School+Nation.
Musician, Drake Bell jams out in front of Wakefield students as a part of High School Nation.

Musician, Drake Bell jams out in front of Wakefield students as a part of High School Nation.

Staff Photo by Maxwell Bryn

Staff Photo by Maxwell Bryn

Musician, Drake Bell jams out in front of Wakefield students as a part of High School Nation.

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Earlier this month, a unique opportunity took Wakefield by storm. High School Nation, a collaborative group of up-and-coming artists and producers, stopped by Wakefield’s campus to host a question panel followed by a music festival for both students and teachers. High School Nation aims to educate and inspire hopeful students who strive to one day make it big as musicians and artists.

“High School Nation reaches out to individual schools because they are a company that focuses on music education,” Principal Malik Bazzell said.  “They reached out to us and did a little background check to see what they could offer Wakefield, and after seeing what activities they did and how we would benefit from it we decided it’d be a good idea for our kids.”

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield
High School Nation panelists discuss and answer questions from Wakefield students.

High School Nation’s music festival boasted a multitude of activities to take part in. Prior to the festivities, the performers hosted a Q & A session with selected students.  During the festival portion of the day, students had the chance to receive freshly screen-printed t-shirts free of charge from the Hollister booth. They could also take home sunglasses and a drawstring bag if they were quick enough to grab them! Alongside this, Guitar Center brought drums, guitars, and sound equipment that students could experiment with. Nearby, Taki’s set up a stage where students could learn a dance routine that would later be performed in front of everyone who attended the concert. PETA2 (the youth division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offered students the chance to make their own pins and learn a bit about veganism, and ICE Water handed out complimentary drinks to help overheated concert-goers cool off.

“All of the music was great!” junior Jessie Jenkins said. “I ended up getting a CD from one of the bands because I enjoyed listening to them so much. Everyone sounded so good and it was a great variety and taste of music.”

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield
Students dance while being recorded on a GoPro.

What particularly enticed students was the opportunity to see the former star of Drake and Josh Drake Bell live and in concert. Among one of the most exciting moments was when Bell performed the Drake and Josh theme song, a classic that has been echoing through kids’ heads for years.

“It was so cool and nostalgic to have the opportunity to meet someone I had idolized as a kid,” senior Marina Coutros said. “The best part was hearing everyone in the crowd sing all the lyrics to the Drake and Josh theme song. The concert was also a once in a lifetime experience and I’m glad our school was selected for it.”

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield
A guitar instructor from High School Nation teaches a student how to play guitar.

Students also had the chance to meet other bands that performed alongside Bell.

“Everyone was super friendly and I gained a lot [of] new music to listen to,” Jenkins said. “The bands had a positive attitude the whole time and there was always a smile on their faces.”

While the whole school has a blast, the arts programs were specifically thankful for this experience coming to Wakefield.

“The arts don’t get recognized as much as sports teams because we don’t receive as much funding and we don’t make as much, so they don’t care about us. I’m glad it brought more recognition to the arts instead of everything being about sports all the time,” sophomore theater student, Chloe Pollack, said.

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield
Students gawk over the guitars that were put on display by High School Nation.

Perhaps the most exciting contribution though was High School Nation’s donation of a free music studio and equipment for use by Wakefield students for years to come.

“We get a free music studio and equipment that we are going to end up setting up as soon as we get the rest of it,” Bazzell said. “Eventually, we’d like to come to a situation where either there’s somebody teaching kids how to use that studio equipment during the day or at the very least some type of club for kids that have access to it with an adult who can teach them how to mix music.”

All in all, High School Nation’s music festival was a massive success that will be a memorable highlight of the 2017-2018 school year. Students experienced the importance of arts like music, and were empowered to go out and chase their dreams.

“I don’t know that we would do that again in the near future but I’m open to other types of activities that expose students to the arts, or something else culturally relevant that we can do again,” Bazzell said.

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The Voice of Wakefield High School
High School Nation brings day of music, art